Category Archives: News

2012 Survey Results

We sincerely appreciate everyone who responded to our survey. We received valuable feedback that we are already using to plan for next year. We are proud to have successfully completed our third season as a CSA serving the Oxford community. We are growing as our local food system grows. While we have experienced many successes, we also have many things to improve upon. Following is a summary of the data from the survey. Please take a moment to look through it. We are pleased that we seem to have about 2/3 approval rating although this is far below our desires and expectations. We want all of our customers to be glad they are purchasing many of their vegetables from us and are committed to addresses the many areas of concern. In response to written feedback on 7 and 9, we have responded in bold italics. Finally, we want to emphasize that we always welcome and appreciate your feedback. (I attempted to attach some graphs for questions 1, 2, and 8 but I just can’t seem to get it to work. Numerical data is now provided.)

1. In your experience as a foodshare holder of Yokna Bottoms Farm, how would you rate:

-Overall Satisfaction:

Highly Satisfied                                    16    (40%)

Satisfied                                                     11     (27.5%)

In the Middle                                           9    (22.5%)

Unsatisfied                                                4    (10%)

Highly Unsatisfied                               0

-Quality of Food:  

              Highly Satisfied                                   24   (60%)

Satisfied                                                     12    (30%)

In the Middle                                           4    (10%)

Unsatisfied                                                0

              Highly Unsatisfied                               0

-Quantity of Food:

Highly Satisfied                                    19    (47.5%)

Satisfied                                                     12     (30%)

In the Middle                                           8    (20%)

Unsatisfied                                                 1    (2.5%)

Highly Unsatisfied                               0             

-Variety of Food:

              Highly Satisfied                                      6    (15%)

Satisfied                                                     17     (42.5%)

In the Middle                                           6    (15%)

Unsatisfied                                                9    (25.5%)

Highly Unsatisfied                               2    (5%)

-Distribution Process:

Highly Satisfied                                    11    (27.5%)

Satisfied                                                     15    (37.5%)

In the Middle                                           7    (17.5%)

Unsatisfied                                                6     (15%)

Highly Unsatisfied                               1      (2.5%)

 

2. How would you rate communications from and with the farm?

Mean Ratings (1 = Highly Satisfied; 5 = Highly Unsatisfied

Weekly Emails                                   1.85

Blog/ Webpage                                   2.0

Facebook Page                                   1.89

Personal Emails                                2.0

Phone                                                       2.14

3. What is you preferred method to receive food?

              Market –Style Distribution            22    (59.5%)

              Pre-Packed Box Drop Point               9    (24.3%)

              Delivery                                                          6    (16.2%)

4. What days would you like to see us distribute food? (check all that apply)

             Monday                                             11  

             Tuesday                                            16  

             Wednesday                                     11  

             Thursday                                         12

             Friday                                                 17

             Saturday                                           20

5. What times would like to see us distribute food? (check all that apply)

             Early Morning                              11

             Noon                                                    10

            Early Afternoon                             7

            Late Afternoon                             23

            Evening                                              14

6. How likely are you to purchase a 2013 foodshare from Yokna Bottoms Farm?

            Highly Likely                                 19 (48.7%)

            Somewhat Likely                          3 (7.7%)

            Somewhat Unlikely                     9 (23.1%)

            Highly Unlikely                              8 (20.5%)

7. What additional food crops would you like to see next year? See our comments in Bold Italics

“Maybe Broccoli and Edamame. We loved the Beets (wish there had been more) and carrots and greens. Is there a way to have more variety in the summer crops?” We learned some lessons from our Broccoli and Edamame problems this year and hope to have much higher yields in 2013

“yellow onions” We plan to plant more this year

“Sweet potatoes, winter squash” The deer ate our sweet potatoes this year but our new ‘Food Crop Protection System’ worked well during the fall. We plan to plant much more winter squash this season.

“Broccoli rabe muscadine grapes figs” We planted 6 fig trees this year and hope to plant muscadines next year. Grapes are tough in our climate.

“fruit” We are beginning to plan our orchards but it takes several years to bring fruit into production. Fruit will not likely be a large portion of our produce for several years.

“rutabagas” We will try

“more beets! parsnips (a royal pain to grow, yes); more mustards; and while not a crop, if you do eggs again, more eggs, because we never received any.” We will try with parsnips and mustards. Eggs were a ‘bonus’ this year with our first 25 hens. Next year we plan to have at least 125 laying hens and should be able to provide regular egg distributions.

“Napa cabbage, broccoli, spinach, peanuts, brussels sprouts, speckled butterbeans” We will try Napa cabbage, peanuts, brussel sprouts, and butterbeans.

“Potatoes (can’t remember, you probably had them), brussel sprouts, summer squash”

“Mushrooms, Blueberries, Avocado” We plan to add blueberries in the near future. We have been looking into mushrooms. Avocados will not tolerate a freeze and thus difficult to grow in our climate.

“Fruit?”

“sweet potatoes, maybe some fall/winter squash, if possible.”

“I would like to maybe see some more fruits (maybe berries of some sort).”

“Asparagras would be great, though it takes a couple years to establish. Maybe orach.” We are planning to start some asparagus beds this year. We will try orach.

“Zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower”

“maybe some asian veg that is hard to get around here (e.g., Asparagus Beens, Thai eggplant)” We will put these on our list for next year.

“Cantalope, zucchini, sweet potatoes, edamame, winter squash, green beans”

“tomatoes, lacianto kale”

“more squash, sweet potatoes, corn, more spinach/kale, less peppers” We told those peppers to stop growing but they didn’t listen–seriously, our pepper crop was beyond our wildest expectation and they just kept on producing. Nonetheless, for 6 weeks this summer we were the only farm in the area producing a variety of peppers and we appreciated the wonderful variety and quality of the peppers we grew. A problem was that our late summer Edamame, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, and Beans did not produce a crop and thus our variety suffered. Corn is the one crop we are 0-3. For some reason, we struggle to grow corn organically with our soil conditions.

8. How would you prioritize areas we need to improve next season?

 Mean Priority Rating (In order of top priority to lowest; 1 = Highest Priority Preference, 9 = Lowest Priority Preference):

#1  Food Variety                                                  2.78

#2 Distribution Process                               2.93

#3  Communications                                       3.78

#4  Quantity of Food                                        4.44

#5  Quality of Food                                            4.85

#6  Types of Shares Available                   5.37

#7  Farm Events                                                 6.74

#8  Community Service                               6.78

#9  Educational Outreach                          7.33

9. Please provide any recommendations, comments, or concerns. (See our comments in Bold Italics)

“The spring and fall were awesome, and the summer was very good, I just wish the summer had a little more variety.” Summer variety and extending the length of harvest for each vegetable we grow is a primary area of focus next year.

“I graduate in May. Can I buy a share for only the months at the end of the school year?” Yes!

“none. it was good. I’ve had CSAs before (in a much much bigger city than Oxford) that supplemented with produce from other suppliers, so we’d occasionally get banans or something in our share. Not a pure share, I know, but the variety made using the share a little easier. Only reason I’m not buying again is because we’ve moved to Kentucky.” Thank you, we will miss you and good luck in Kentucky

“You do wonderfully in the educational outreach and community service areas. Could not ask for more there!” Thank you, we view this as an important element of our mission and goals.

“A later time for pickup so those who do not work a ‘normal’ work week aren’t at a disadvantage to those who can show up early (and grab the pick of the crops).” We plan to offer more delivery options next year including a continuation of our Tuesday distribution which started at 5:00 (we may, however, do a market style distribution on Tuesday–stayed tuned for details)

“We saw a big improvement in quality and variety of food from last year. We plan to purchase from your market booth next year because we are a 2 person household and were somewhat overwhelmed by the quantity this year.” We are thrilled to provide our customers food in whatever format works best for you.

“Thanks for all you do!”

“All in all, it was a great experience. I like the split distribution days.”

“I stopped picking up my share mid season for two reasons: (a) Fridays during the fall are just not feasible with all the football people coming to town and (b) I got sick of having nothing but peppers to choose from.” We appreciate your honest feedback. We did make some planning errors and made some critical mistakes in our field techniques. We acknowledge our mistakes and are committed to doing better in the future.

“Above list is not an indication that you need to improve – it’s just my order of importance. Enjoyed all the food this year and have signed up for next year. Thanks!”

“I didn’t answer question 8 because we’re pretty well satisfied. It’s more of a question of what not to change. Keep it as informal as possible and otherwise pretty much leave it as is. The quality and overall value are good, and so is access with two different days for delivery as well as being able to come to the farm.All in all, I’m a firm believer that change for change’s sake is never good.” Overall we agree and do not plan any major changes in what we are doing. Mostly our focus for improvement is based on the feedback we have received and we plan to make minor modifications in our field practices, distribution process, and communications. 

“My family and myself really enjoyed the spring and early summer crops. Toward the end of the summer, we got tired of peppers, egg plant, etc. Every watermelon we ever got was not sweet/did not have much flavor. The distributions seemed a little disorganized at times. As a person who works full time, there were many days that you were out of a particular veggie that I we like by the time I got off work to pick them up. Saturday distributions allowed me to get there a little earlier. I know this sounds like a lot of criticism, just hope it helps a little. You all have a great thing started that, with a little improvement, could be great. For the price, I think we might skip out next year because I don’t feel like we got our money’s worth the second half of the season.” Thank you for the  honest feedback. You are correct, during the first half of the season we had 13 regular distributions and two bonus distributions for an average of over 24 points. During the second half of the season (August 1-November 20), we had 13 distributions plus four bonus distributions for an average of 19.6 points. The primary cause of this was the loss of our Sweet Potato, Edamame, and late Green Bean crops. Regardless, this totals up to a possible 693 points (points equaled the market dollar value of the food we distributed) worth of food. This said, it is extremely important to us that our customers feel they are receiving a good value for their foodshare purchase and we are working hard and developing our infrastructure to increase our production.

“Thanks for this opportunity. It has been fun!”

“we love our food share. If there were some way to make a few choices for home delivery or box pick-up, we’d be happy to switch from market pickup” We will have more options available next year–stayed tuned.

How about a report on the Angel donation? No problem: We sincerely want to thank all who supported our Angel Share Program. Last year we received $850 of Angel Share Donations. The farm added another $425 in foodshare value. This amount provided two families a full share, 3 families with a 25% reduction in the cost of a foodshare. We also donated a foodshare to the Yoknapatapha Arts Council and appreciation of all that they do to support us, especially providing us the Powerhouse as a location to distribute our food. In addition, we donated almost 1000 lbs. of food to More than a Meal, Interfaith Compassion Ministry, and the Oxford Food Bank. 

“My favorite part of the CSA is being able to pick up during the week. I wish that you would offer the friday-style points distribution then too. It felt abritrary that I could choose by the point system on Tuesdays. I am out of town most weekends so Friday wasn’t a good option for me. I thought the variety and quantity of peppers was too much this summer, and I’d like to see more variety that time of year. I love the quality and quantity of greens in late fall. I would also like to see more herbs. The basil was great. Thank you very much for all your work. I really appreciate the food that you grow. We are considering also doing a market style on Tuesdays. We are also planning to grow more varieties of herbs.

“Really, the only problem that i had was the distribution process. I am happy to get great produce, but at the end of the day, I want everything to already be boxed for me. Also, I am moving away from Oxford. That is the only reason I selected highly unlikely to purchase a share. If I were still living in town, I would definitely purchase again if a different distribution process was in place.” We will be again providing the box option. We appreciate your support and will miss you.

“wound prefer pick up 4p or later during week. Food is great. Love the tomatoes, greens”

1 Comment

Filed under CSA, News, Yokna Bottoms

A Garden of Garlic: A Treat For Us All

Hey, Ya’ll!  We have a real treat for you coming up at distribution and market this weekend: Gourmet garlics.  That’s right—GOURMET garlics!   Gourmet garlics have only been around in the US since about 1989 and are still quite rare and hard to find available for purchase. We are very happy to present and offer to you our abundant harvest of over 2000 bulbs! Be prepared to kiss white “grocery-store” garlic goodbye! Or, if not, these gourmet garlics will make a nice addition to your culinary pursuits and will certainly spice up your food and your life in new and tasty ways. We will have 5 varieties available including the following:

Ajo Rojo:  A long-storing, hot, rich, full-flavor Creole variety garlic . Creoles are among the scarcest of all garlics. They were Cultivated in Spain and spread through the travels of theConquistadores.

Early Italian Red: A rich, mellow, soft-neck Artichoke* variety garlic. This is an excellent all- around general use garlic and an excellent baker, richly flavored with light to medium pungency.

*The Artichoke variety of garlic includes the type we typically think of when we think of garlic, as that is what is sold in most  grocery stores in our part of the country. Many people are unaware that there is more than one type of garlic. That’s another reason we are so excited to have these beauties!

Applegate:  A superb, mild Artichoke variety garlic that is excellent for raw eating as in pesto or added as something crunchy to tuna or chicken salad (it’s that mild) or cooking where you want only the most delicate hint of garlic in your dish.

We hope you will come and check ‘em out, give ‘em a try, and let us know what you think!  

Yay for variety! Yay for garlic that keeps us well and healthy and makes food taste great!

–Amanda Margolis

1 Comment

Filed under CSA, Farm and Garden, News

And We’re Back!

BeesSummer is quickly approaching, and we have been busy plowing, planting and picking! We have had successful distributions the past several weeks, and we want to thank our shareholders for coming out and the Powerhouse for allowing us to use their space. Exciting new things have been happening at the farm this season. We would like to welcome our newest neighbors, three hives of bees who we hope will enjoy the blackberries as much as we do. A big thank you to Kevin for helping us move them in. Also, tonight is the full moon, and that means that we will be hosting out second Drum Circle of the year tonight at 7:30. We had a blast drumming after Patawpha Fest, and hope to see everyone again tonight!

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Green Week 2011 Is Almost Here!

We’re gearing up for a great week of events planned from April 16-22 (see below) for Oxford’s 2011 GREEN WEEK!

Start it all off with a Friday night vegetarian pot-luck you won’t want to miss, hosted by The Honey Bee Bakerythere’s a very good chance it’ll be the best food you’ll eat all month!

Saturday, April 16 is the official Kick-Off to Green Week with a line-up of speakers at the Conference Center all morning – including Felder Rushing of the Gestalt Gardener – followed by a green home tour and then make your way out to Yokna Bottoms Farm for Patawpha Fest, the annual music, food and art spring festival celebrating all things local and good. Shuttles will be provided at 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM and 9 PM from the old WalMart parking lot and the Conference Center. Did we mention it is FREE! And when the music dies down, a giant bonfire will ignite a night of drumming and dancing. On site camping is available.

And we’re just getting started; relax on Sunday after partying it up at Patawpha Fest with a Green Brunch back at Honey Bee Bakery highlighting locally produced food and then swing on over to the Oxford Community Garden for a social amongst the sprouts! Monday, be sure to pack your brown bag and head over to the Barnard Observatory on campus for an Eat Local Panel Discussion moderated by John T Edge of the Southern Foodways Alliance. Tuesday students get involved at the Sustainability Fair at the Ole Miss Student Union and Wednesday the community will recognize it’s sustainable leaders the annual SLA awards held in Off-Square Books followed by a great documentary “The Real Dirt on Farmer John” shown outdoors by Ronzo at the Main Squeeze. And if you haven’t already done so, make your reservations at The Ravine for the Green Week wine dinner. The week wraps up on Good Friday with Parks Appreciation Day and the Green Week Fun Run 5k (starting at the Whirlpool Trail). Visit your favorite local park and enjoy the outdoors with your friends and family and for more music, Oxford’s Skate Park will be having demos, music and food all afternoon long. Phew! And we didn’t even COME CLOSE to listing everything going on, from the Aluminum Show on Tuesday night to great events for the kids all week long!

Shoot, just check out the week’s overview and make your own plans – there is just so much going on!

Check out the official GREEN WEEK site for more information on all events happening. Start marking your calendars now because there is going to be a whole lot going in that you won’t want to miss.

We hope to see you at as many of these events as possible! Get out and support your community and the local individuals, businesses and organizations who help to make it what it is!

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News

Patawpha Fest Line-Up Announced …

Yokna(patawpha) Bottoms Farm will be hosting the second annual Patawpha Fest as part of Oxford’s Green Week 2011 in Saturday, April 16 from 2:00 PM til!

Last year, the inaugural Patawpha Fest in May was a huge success with over ten local bands and musicians performing throughout the day while dozens of farmer’s market vendors and local artists tabled their produce and crafts. The Larry Tyler Band started things off nice and easy and as the afternoon sun got hotter so did the music, capping off with a Zephyr Ellis/Silas Reed finale going well into the evening.

The music will begin at 2:00 pm and keep on going until sunset as we then transition into our first full moon drum circle bonfire of the season – which should keep us up dancing long after the sun goes down. The event is FREE and open to the public, though donations will be encouraged at the entrance. Bring a blanket, some lawn chairs, a cooler and most importantly, good friends to enjoy what we expect to be a wonderful day. For the evening drum circle, bring any acoustic instrument you have and if you don’t play – no worries, just bring your dancing feet and clapping hands! Patawpha Fest is definitely kid and pet friendly, though we ask you to keep your dogs on a leash and your children in eye’s reach. On site camping is available.

 

If you are a food vendor, grower,  artist or have a craft you would like to sell at Patawpha Fest then contact us at yoknabottoms@gmail.com.

There will be several bands returning from last year’s festival with some exciting new additions to the day’s line-up! In no particular order, the following will be performing this year …

Elephant Shoe

Shannon McNally

Tate Moore and the Cosmic Door

Zephyr Ellis

The Cakewalkers

Silas Reed & Da Books

Darkfire

Mark Walsh, Sean Hendley and more ..

There will also be readings of poetry and prose by local writers between sets, dance routines, comedy and non-stop entertainment throughout the day. Be sure to come on out and spend the day with us at Yokna Bottoms Farm. Shuttles will be provided from the old Wal-Mart Parking Lot and the Convention Center at 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM and 9 PM.

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, News

BTC & Community Supported Groceries

From our friends at the BTC (Be The Change) Grocery in Water Valley, comes a novel way to bring local food and healthy options to Oxford residents. The concept of a community-supported grocery evolved out of the desire to bring the unique offerings that BTC provides straight to its customers. BTC hopes to start distributing packages along with our Yokna Bottoms CSA distributions on Friday afternoons between 4-6 PM at the Powerhouse on University Ave, starting as soon as they can get enough interested participants, making it convenient for you to get all of your produce needs this summer as well as some other essentials such as milk, eggs and cheese. Read below for the different packages offered and contact Alexe today to find out more information on how you can get involved!

If you missed the article, read all about this venture in the Daily Mississippian.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Other

Old Thyme Farms: Locally Raised Pastured Pork

Always glad to support local growers, producers and farmers – especially those promoting sustainable practices and a responsibility to both the land and the community in which they are a part of – we’d like to introduce you all to Brad, Jodi and Willow Solomon of Old Thyme Farms right here in Oxford, MS.

 At Old Thyme Farms, we raise and sell Heritage Breed Tamworth hogs as well as Heritage Breed Hair Sheep (our gardens are under construction at present). Our hogs  live 100% of their lives as god intended, foraging and living in the outdoors. We care for and look after our pigs from farrow to finish (birth to slaughter).  Great care is given to provide a safe, natural and humane environment throughout every part of the life cycle. Our pigs forage for as much as 80% of their GNF2009Summary22diet. The Tamworth hog is considered a heritage breed (heirloom animal) and originates from Tamworth England. Tamworth pigs are also called the “Irish Grazer” and many argue the breed originated in Ireland.

Our pigs live low-stress lives enjoying the freedom to exercise a full range of their normal behaviors including rooting, scratching, running , wallowing, and taking sunbaths. They will also turn the soil hunting for roots and trace minerals, and helping to improve the pastures that nurture them. Raisings Tamworth hogs in such a way is a slower growing process than one would find on a conventional “factory farm” but raising hogs as we do produces a higher quality meat product than a confinement operation. Unlike sheep, cattle and other grazers, pigs can’t survive on pasture grass alone – so ours have free access to a custom feed ration containing local corn, sorghum, sunflower, and protein supplement but never any antibiotics or hormones. In season, our pigs also eat fresh greens/produce from our gardens, acorn/nut mast crops and hard squashes (pumpkins and gourds).

Because of the opportunity to live and play in the fresh air, drinking good clean water the meat produced by these contented pigs has a more red color than the pork many people find in the grocery store (not the other white meat). In all other respects, it is behaves in the kitchen just like other pork, except of course for the healthy, succulent flavor. Also, because our pigs live out of doors and on pasture, our pork is rich with natural antioxidants from forages and sunlight. None of our products ever contain MSG, nitrates or nitrites, or any other fillers and chemicals- just healthy heritage breed pork raised right and processed here in Lafayette County, Mississippi!
 
A safe food supply is a diverse food supply so the Tamworth’s presence on the Endangered Livestock list means that demand is needed to preserve this delicious and rare breed. The Tamworth is a hearty and strong animal with a gentle temperament. It is reported that less than 4500 are in existence on the planet
.”

Call Brad (662-202-5776) to reserve your 1/4 or 1/2 hog today! 

 Quarter pigs weigh ~ 38-40  pounds and are the best way to try all the cuts of the pig, coming in a box with the following cuts:
 
2 Ham Roast bone-in (5 lbs each)
4 Shoulder Steaks (4 lbs)
2 shoulder Roast (4.5 lbs)
6 Pork Chops (4.5 lbs)
Spareribs (2 lbs)
Fresh Side (2.5 lbs)
Osso Buco Shanks (1.5 lbs)
Ground Pork (4 lbs)
Pork Sausage (2.5 lbs)
Sirloin (2.5 lbs)
Country-ribs (1 lbs)
Backfat (1 lb)
Neck bones (1lbs)

* 1/4 Tamworth Hog $240.00; cut and wrapped by a state inspected slaughter facility
 
* 1/2 Tamworth Hog  $450.00;cut and wrapped by a state inspected slaughter facility
 
Organ meats, pork skins, ect. as well as custom meat cutting available per request.

3 Comments

Filed under News, Other